Nowruz & Persian Sour Orange Syrup | Sharbat-e Porteghal

Persian sour oranges, called narenj, are a specialty during Nowruz. They are served with fish and can also be used to make this Persian Sour Orange Syrup.

Persian Sour Orange Syrup (Sharbat-e Porteghal) by

We are officially in the month of March and that means spring is not far off. Time seems to be zipping by for me. How about you? The first day of Spring is March 20th, and that means Nowruz, the Persian New Year is here. Every year I put together our family sofreh and every year I mix things up and prepare it differently. Nowruz is one of my favorite holidays, and I am always thrilled to see that spring has arrived.

And just when I think my kids don’t care about these such things, while I frantically clean and prepare our haft sin, I can see their faces glow with excitement. They might reluctantly help with the spring cleaning around house, they still love to sneak sweets off the sofreh and celebrate the new year at their grandparents’ house for the traditional meal.

I partake in another Nowruz tradition by celebrating with Persian bloggers from all over the world. It is our hope to spread the love and goodwill that comes out of this secular and non-political holiday to everyone.


I have shared with you the many traditions and foods associated with Nowuz in past posts. I am happy to say, that I have written an ebook that has everything you need to celebrate Nowruz.  You can learn more about my Nowruz ebook here.

Persian Sour Orange (Narenj) by

Today’s recipe is a syrup recipe made with oranges, lemons and narenj, the Persian sour orange. It’s bumpy thick skin may look ugly to foreigners, but to Persians, the narenj is used in our spring cooking as it is available this time of year.

This Persian Sour Orange Syrup (Sharbat-e Porteghal) was made in these winter months to be used in the warm spring and summer months. Added to water, it makes a cool and refreshing drink. Remember, this was before the time of supermarkets where you can import fruits that were out of season locally.

Persian Sour Orange Syrup (Sharbat-e Porteghal) by

Persian Sour Orange Syrup (Sharbat-e Porteghal)

Before supermarkets were around, Persians would make this sweet and sour orange syrup. They would keep it in their refrigerators and add it to water to make a refreshing orange drink during the spring and summer months. Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, approximately 3 oranges
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, approximately 1 large lemon
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed sour orange (narenj), approximately 2 sour oranges
  • 2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 TBS orange zest, grated
  • 1 TBS orange, grated


  1. Combine in a small pot and stir over low heat:
    • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice , approximately 3 oranges
    • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice , approximately 1 large lemon
    • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed sour orange (narenj) , approximately 2 sour oranges
    • 2 cup granulated sugar
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved and syrup thickens, approximately 10 minutes. Do not boil.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in:
    • 2 TBS orange zest , grated
  4. Let mixture cool to room temperature then transfer to bottles. Top with a layer of:
    • 1 TBS orange , grated
  5. Syrup will keep in the refrigerated, sealed in a bottle for up to 2 months.


Serving Suggestions: Use approximately 1 TBS of orange syrup for every 6-8 ounces of water. It can also be added to club soda.

Prep Time:

Yield: 32 servings

Cook Time:

Check out our pinterest board dedicated to Nowruz here:

Follow Laura | Family Spice’s board Nowruz – Persian New Year on Pinterest.

And please visit all of my Persian blogging friends and learn more about Nowruz here:

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9 Responses to Nowruz & Persian Sour Orange Syrup | Sharbat-e Porteghal

  1. What looks like a simple orange juice is actually quite a medley of citrus juices and flavoring. A special drink so refreshing. Happy Nowruz to you and yours!

  2. This looks awesome, I love the use of Naranj in this. The pictures are stunning, you really do a great job framing the picture and bringing color to the frame.

  3. Happy Nowruz dear Laura! To you and to your family and Persian friends!
    Beautiful post indeed!
    Hugs from Argentina, where I guess there are also many Persian friends living between us.


  4. Afsaneh at #

    Such a refreshing and nostalgic post! Thanks. Happy Norooz to you too.

  5. What a delicious sharbat, Laura joon.
    I will have to make a batch – I just saw sour oranges at the market a couple days ago.
    Eid-eh shomah mobarak!

  6. Naz at #

    What a lovely post. And what lovely sherbet. Your photos create a lovely mood and make want to make this sharbat right away. Happy New Year to you and your family, Laura!

  7. Farzan at #

    Dear Laura,
    It has been approved for years now that many Persian foods are unhealthy and risk lives. In fact Persians are among the ones throughout the world with the highest number of diabetes and heart stroke as a result of consuming three dangerous ingredients: (White Processed) Sugar, (White Bleached) Flour (in their breads) and White Rice. Considering that you live in the US and food and health information are readily available there, why would you insist on spreading the recipes which (mostly, not all) endanger health and has no consequences rather than serious risks to body in mid. and long term?! As an example this so-called Sherbat you have described above, is as bad as a cup of Coke you get from a McDonald’s!! Two spoons of Sugar!!!

    • I’m not sure why you want to pick Sharbat as the quintessential Persian recipe to trash. A spoonful or two or sharbat is mixed into a glass of water to enjoy as a drink. Like all cultures, you will find healthy recipes and unhealthy ones. I find Persian food to be very healthy, filled with fresh vegetables and herbs. In our house we eat a lot brown rice, which pairs very well with many Persian stews. But like everywhere else in the world, people have to learn portion control and moderation.

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